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Throughout Sport Newcastle’s five decades, rugby union has changed dramatically. Not only did the game become professional during the 1990s but the Newcastle Falcons also helped produce the most famous player in the world.

Jonny Wilkinson - first recognised by Sport Newcastle as a Rising Star - not only won the Premiership title with the Newcastle Falcons but also kicked the winning drop goal during the 2003 World Cup final. He was named our Sports Personality in both 2002 and 2004.

And a man key to Wilkinson’s success, his mentor Steve Black, collected the award alongside the ex-England fly-half in 2015 as they walked away as joint-winners.

Rob Andrew, who not only led the Falcons into the professional era but also delivered the 1997/98 Premiership title and established the Kingston Park outfit as a top-flight club, has also won the Sports Personality award - as has current director of rugby Dean Richards, who is performing an exciting rebuilding job.

Before professionalism arrived, Sport Newcastle also recognised amateur rugby success - with the late ex-Gosforth and England prop Colin White, who led his club to two famous Twickenham Cup nal victories, collecting the award during the 1970s.

Former RFU presidents Danie Serfontein and Richard Appleby have also been recognised for their contribution to grassroots sport.

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